Monday, December 27, 2010

What Matters

The holidays can be challenging for a lot of people. I am one of those who stress over the details. I was in an unbelievable tizzy last week because I couldn't find round pretzels to make candies. It was like I was watching myself from a distance as I ranted about the pretzels and worried that my dinner would be ruined without this key component. Seriously. I can let it go now, because I found the pretzels. No, what I realized was my emotional state was not about the pretzels. I was becoming frantic about small, meaningless issues, completely stuck in my head. Every year I fall into the same trap. I worry that I'm not making the right food, or that it won't be enough, or someone won't like it. I can honestly say, I don't think people really care what they eat. What matters is that we are together.
The details can become more important than the reason for the event if I'm not careful. If I focus on filling every one's glass and preparing too many desserts, I can easily miss the entire evening. It also makes me tense and irritable and I don't sit down long enough to enjoy the company. I may get a rave review for the meal, but I won't have any memories of our time together. I risk spending the whole time in my to-do list, and not present in the moment. This doesn't just happen during the holidays, of course. It's easy to lose track of what matters in any day. In the rush of trying to get everything done, we lose sight of what's happening right now. What matters is the present moment.
I know when I'm creating my own stress. As I said before, it's like I can watch myself from a distance, fabricating reasons to be anxious and worried, so up in my head I don't even notice what's in front of me. If I took the time to exhale (try it now with me: Ahhhh), I might find the urgency has lessened. I can slow down, re-focus, and recognize what's really important. Staying present means the holidays don't fly by too quickly, and we won't miss the best moments. This time of year, enjoy the company you're blessed to entertain, remember to breathe and you can be the one smiling serenely as others push past you at the mall.

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